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Crossmark debuts new collaboration center

BY Mike Troy

PLANO, Texas — Sales and marketing services leader Crossmark unveiled a first-of-its-kind collaboration center on July 10 just steps from Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. The new facility offers the retailer and its trading partners a wide range of joint business planning, shopper insights and store execution capabilities.
 

The 18,500-sq.-ft. facility, branded as the Crossmark Center for Collaboration, is unlike anything in the retail industry due to its proximity to the world’s largest retailer and range of capabilities. It features nine rooms of various sizes with flat panel displays and state-of-the-art communications technology, a presentation kitchen where food samples can be prepared as a customer would in a home environment and a solutions center focused on on-shelf availability and shopper research. In addition, there are two rooms equipped with 8-ft. by 16 ft. PRYSM digital touchscreen walls capable of replicating store shelves and a large space on the second floor that can accommodate more than 100 people for meetings or be converted into a product display area.
 

At the opening ceremony, Mike Graen, Crossmark’s VP collaboration, characterized the facility as a tool that will enable new levels of collaboration. Crossmark CEO Ben Fisher added that the Center fits with the premise on which the company was founded.

 

“As a service company, we were built to help other companies achieve their goals by finding better ways to build and grow brands and reduce costs,” Fisher said.
 

Increasingly that process involves retailers and suppliers working more closely together across a range of disciplines, such as merchandising, marketing, operations and supply chain in their respective organizations. Crossmark hopes to facilitate such meetings at its new facility with existing clients as well as companies who are not its customers.
 

“It can’t just be for our clients because that would defeat the purpose, and it wouldn’t create value for Walmart,” Fisher said. “We are going to help brands and retailers find better ways to engage with shoppers.”
 

While the opening of the facility marks a new chapter in collaboration between Walmart and its suppliers, the event also was an opportunity for Crossmark to recognize the contributions of Joe Crafton, who retired as CEO earlier this year.
 

“It truly was Joe’s idea,” Fisher said of his long-time business partner and predecessor. “He has always been a guy who was willing to run out in front of the pack. He found ways to do things that most of us never saw.”
 

From Crafton’s perspective, the inspiration for the Center wasn’t anything so grand. “It came about as a result of me needing a parking space,” Crafton said.
 

While visiting Walmart’s home office for a meeting with U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon, Crafton was having difficulty locating a parking space. Desperate, he parked in the front yard of a small home adjacent to Walmart’s headquarters occupied by a woman who decades earlier had sold a portion of her land to Sam Walton.
 

After his meeting ended, Crafton knocked on the woman’s door to apologize for parking in her front yard. The apology turned into a 30-minute conversation that led to a connection to the woman’s son, who upon his mother’s passing sold the property to Crossmark, but not until Crafton made sure Walmart didn’t have designs on the real estate.
 

“Joe saw a little plot of land and recognized the opportunity,” Fisher said. “The real key for us long-term is we’ve got to make sure we always provide the latest and greatest capabilities and technology.”

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AmerisourceBergen Technology Group launches FastPak Elite packaging solution

BY Michael Johnsen

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – AmerisourceBergen Technology Group on Thursday launched FastPak Elite, a tool that "reinvents the pouch packager to meet the demands of high volume pharmacy operations, by putting medications in convenient multi-dose packaging," the company stated. 
 
"FastPak Elite is a next generation packaging solution that offers unparalleled versatility and modular configuration," said Tony Guarino, AmerisourceBergen Technology Group general manager. "FastPak Elite provides virtually limitless formulary capabilities and is the fastest packaging equipment we have delivered yet."
 
The FastPak Elite automates up to 100% of oral solid prescription medications. Factory-calibrated smart canisters can accurately accommodate, count and dispense nearly all sizes and shapes of oral solid medications. Each smart canister is lockable and equipped with an RFID chip and barcode identification capabilities to ensure that the correct medication is contained in the right canister. 
 
The FastPak Elite RFID technology identifies the canister and records its contents regardless of where it is placed in the machine.
 
Software maximizes efficiency with a specially designed user interface that simplifies the production process, AmerisourceBergen Technology Group added. Pharmacy technicians can queue batches of medications that are selected, counted and dispensed into unit-dose and multidose pouches at the rate of up to 60 pouches per minute.
 
The FastPak Elite also features a pill cutter and a detachable table adjuster tray that has a capacity of 63 cells and allows dispensing of irregularly shaped or slow-moving medications that are not in canisters. Another feature — the software selects the most efficient pouch size to use, which saves up to 20% in paper usage versus devices that only offer static pouch sizing.
 
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FDA approves Anacor’s antifungal solution

BY Ryan Chavis

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Anacor Pharmaceuticals announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the company's new drug application for Kerydin (tavaborole) topical solution, 5% — an antifungal approved for the topical treatment of onychomycosis of the toenails.

"We are pleased to announce the FDA approval of Kerydin, which provides an important new topical treatment option for the millions of people in the United States who are infected with onychomycosis of the toenails," said Paul Berns, CEO Anacor Pharmaceuticals. "We expect to launch Kerydin in the United States, either alone or with a partner, as early as the end of this quarter."

Kerydin is clear and colorless. The alcohol-based solution is applied with a dropper to the infected toenail once daily for 48 weeks. Because of its topical application, the company said that the drug has not demonstrated any systemic side effects.

"Onychomycosis is one of the most common diseases diagnosed and treated by podiatrists. Historically, a large number of patients with onychomycosis would choose not to treat their infection," said Warren Joseph, D.P.M., lower extremity infectious diseases consultant at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia. "With the approval of KERYDIN, physicians can now offer patients a safe, effective and easy-to-use topical treatment for their onychomycosis of the toenail, which I think will be well-received by patients."

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